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Church Bulletin: December 21, 2014

posted Dec 22, 2014, 1:45 PM by Saint Raphael of Brooklyn Antiochian Orthodox Church
December 21, 2014- Sunday Before Nativity (Genealogy of Christ)
This Week's Services and Events

December 24, Wednesday, Christmas Eve
        + Royal Hours, 9:00AM
        + Vesperal Liturgy, 6:00PM

December 25, Thursday, Christmas Day
        + Matins, 8:30AM
        + Liturgy, 10:00AM

December 27, Saturday
        + 9th Hour/Great Vespers, 6:00PM

December 28, Sunday, Sunday after Nativity
        +Matins, 8:45AM
        + Divine Liturgy, 10:00AM, followed by fellowship hour 
Upcoming Events and Announcements  

       Congratulations to Alli Rockwell and her daughter Inga Renee, who were churched on the 40th day today during liturgy.  Congratulations also to proud father Rezo Gvarjaladze.

       Today we said goodbye to Justin, Rachel and Aster Cornett-Olsson.  They are moving to San Antonio, Texas to be closer to family and to explore new job opportunities.  May God grant them many years!

Nativity Services-
       Wednesday, December 24th- Royal Hours, 9:00AM; Vesperal Liturgy, 6:00PM.  Thursday, December 25- Matins, 8:30AM and Liturgy, 10:00AM

No Matins or Office Hours this Friday-
        There will be no matins and Fr. Ignatius will not be holding office hours on Friday, December 26.

No Sunday School December 28-
        Due to people travelling during the holidays, there will be no Sunday School next Sunday, December 28. 

Change in Saturday Vespers Schedule-
        Beginning January 3, vespers will start at 5:00PM.  It will end at about 6:15PM.  We will no longer begin with 9th Hour.  Come and immerse yourself in what the Church has to offer by making it to vespers more often.

Becoming Truly Human Series, Beginning January 10-
       We have a unique opportunity to participate in an exciting series of classes called "Becoming Truly Human."  On Saturday, January 10 from 10:00AM-2:00PM, we begin with a training session led by Adam Roberts, the project coordinator from our Archdiocese.  It is very important to make this first session. Following, we will meet for six consecutive weeks on Saturdays from 3:00PM-4:45PM.  Come to as many of these later sessions as you are able.  Please plan to participate in this series so that we may become better equipped to honor our patron, St. Raphael, during this centennial year of his repose, by being more knowledgeable about our faith so that we can be more outreach-minded. 

Feasting Following the Fast-
        Our pre-Nativity fast concludes on the evening of December 24.  In honor of the Lord's Nativity, there is no fasting (even on Wednesdays and Fridays) from December 25 through January 4.  Enjoy and celebrate!

2015 Annual Calendars Now Available-
        Calendars showing the daily saints and scripture readings, along with fasting days and seasons, are now available in the narthex to take home.  Take one or take several.

Latest Post From Fr. Stephen Freeman on Christianity and Moralism-
        The last two bulletins have had links to blog posts by Fr. Stephen Freeman on the dangers of reducing our Christian existence to moralism, a mindset that measures spiritual progress by how much we are keeping or breaking the Ten Commandments.  A third post in this series can be found at: http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/glory2godforallthings/2014/12/17/un-moral-christian/

St. Maria's Bread House-
        If you're interested helping in any way with Vespers in Kalona, whether it's just being there, helping find or buy liturgical supplies, or singing, please contact Amy or Father. If you'd like to buy beeswax tealight candles--great stocking stuffers recycled from St. Raphael's candle stubs--to support the Bread House, let Amy know at kalonabreadhouse@gmail.com, or visit our website: stmariasbreadhouse.org

We Need a Volunteer to Coordinate New Flower Memorial Program-
        We all miss our departed loved ones and it is comforting to us to memorialize them in some way.  Beginning in 2015, we are going to have a weekly sign-up sheet available which will give people the opportunity to purchase a bouquet of flowers through the church, in memory of departed loved ones.  The donor's name, and the name(s) of their memorialized departed loved ones will be printed in the weekly emailed bulletin.  In order to organize this new effort to both remember our loved ones and beautify the nave of our church with more flowers, we need a volunteer who can approach a local florist to arrange a relationship which will facilitate such a program.  This person will also be responsible for picking up the bouquets of flowers and bringing them to church each week that somebody has arranged to have loved ones memorialized.  If this task interests you, please speak with Fr. Ignatius.

St. Raphael Sermon Series Beginning January 4-
       Since 2015 is the centennial of the repose of our patron St. Raphael of Brooklyn, Fr. Ignatius will start the year preaching an eight week sermon series on Sundays during liturgy, focusing on the titles we ascribe to St. Raphael in his troparion.
1. Adornment of the Holy Church
2. Champion of the True Faith
3. Seeker of the Lost
4. Consolation of the Oppressed
5.  Father to Orphans and Friend of the Poor
6. Peacemaker and Good Shepherd
7. Joy of all the Orthodox
8. Son of Antioch/Boast of America

St. Basil the Great/ Circumcision of the Lord Liturgy at St. George-
        Are you looking for something different to do on New Year's Eve?  You are invited to St. George Church in Cedar Rapids (3650 Cottage Grove Ave. SE) for liturgy at 5:00PM to celebrate both St. Basil the Great and the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord, both of which the Church commemorates on January 1.

Save the Date!- January 10 Outdoor Blessing of the Waters-
        We are hosting clergy and faithful from surrounding Orthodox parishes at a pan-Orthodox Outdoor Blessing of the Waters service as a part of the Feast of Theophany.  Join us at the IRP Dam Pedestrian Bridge (near Iowa River Power Restaurant at 501 1st Avenue, Coralville) at 4:00PM on Saturday, January 10.  Following the brief service, we will gather at church for pan-Orthodox vespers at 5:00PM followed by a potluck meal that we will provide for our guests.

A Different Approach to House Blessings in 2015-
       The time between Theophany (January 6) and the beginning of Lent (this year, February 23) is traditionally, the time for Orthodox priests to do house blessings.  Fr. Ignatius will be doing house blessings during this time.  However, he is going to be contacting all parishioners directly, and scheduling a time to come and bless.  It is not necessary to feed the priest when he visits!  However, you are encouraged to invite others from the parish to your home during the blessing.  Let us renew our social bonds and forge new friendships during this season.

Bible Bowl and Oratorical Festival-
       Each year, our diocese offers two different competitions for teens (and one for adults), held at the Parish Life Conference.  The 2015 Parish Life Conference will be held in Grand Rapids, MI in June.  Teens from our parish have participated in and done very well in the Bible Bowl is recent years, winning trophies each time they have competed.  Instead of focusing on one book of the Bible, the 2015 Bible Bowl will focus on the life of our patron, St. Raphael of Brooklyn, as found in the book "Our Father Among the Saints Raphael Bishop of Brooklyn: Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America" published by Antakya Press.  This theme was chosen by Metropolitan Philip before his repose, because 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the repose of St. Raphael.  Fr. Ignatius challenges teens (ages 13-19) to form a team and study and compete.  Adults can form a team as well.  We can win this at the diocesan level and go on to compete on the archdiocesan level!  In addition, if giving speeches is your thing (teens only), consider writing a speech for the Oratorical Festival, the theme of which is also the life of St. Raphael.  Information is posted in the narthex.  Talk to Fr. Ignatius if you would like to learn more.

Thoughts on Stewardship and Giving-
        Word, November, 2005, Fr. John Abdallah, referencing remarks by Metropolitan Philip to the 2005 General Assembly of the Antiochian Archdiocese in Detroit, MI...
"Tithing, like praying and fasting, puts God first and teaches us to trust Him, rather than ourselves, as our leader.  When we tithe, God is given the first part, the first tenth of the gifts that He gave to us.  When we tithe, we enter into His ministry at a serious level that will allow the parish and the Archdiocese to minister as they should.  Only when the parish and the Archdiocese operate at a level pleasing to God, can the people receive the ministry that God wants them to have.  Contributing tithes to the Church is different than making a pledge.  Tithes are based on what God has given us, not what we think the local parish needs to operate.  Tithes also represent the first part, not what is left over after we pay our bills and have our recreation.  Tithing represents a significant shift in thinking.  That is why tithing, like praying and fasting, is a spiritual gift that deepens our relationship with God and changes our life."

Next Sunday's Gospel Reading-
        St. John Chrysostom urges Christians to preview the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading so that it may be fresh in your minds when you hear it next
The reading for Sunday, December 28 is: When the wise men had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the Child, to destroy Him.”  And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.  This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt have I called My Son.”  Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region, who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men.  Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.”  But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the Child’s life are dead.”  And he rose and took the Child and His mother, and went to the land of Israel.  But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee.  And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”  (Matthew 2:13-23)

Pray for our Catechumens-
       Please keep our catechumens: Ilya Buchkin, Rob Bergenstock and Daniel Welsh in your prayers as they prepare to be sacramentally joined to the Orthodox Church.
Keep Praying for Kidnapped Orthodox Bishops in Syria-
       Since April 22, 2013, the Orthodox Metropolitan of Aleppo, Metropolitan Paul, and the Syriac Metropolitan of Aleppo, Youhanna, have been in captivity and have not heard from.  Please pray for their well being and release and also pray for their captors as well.  One priest is also missing, having been kidnapped. 

Do You Have a Prayer Request?
        Please give it to Fr. Ignatius and he will distribute it by email to all those on the Prayer Chain. If you wish to join the Prayer Chain, please let Fr. Ignatius

Coffee Hour-
       The St. John the Baptist team will bring food to share and will clean-up the fellowship hall on Sunday December 28. 

Food for Thought-

Christ is born, glorify Him!  Christ comes from heaven, go to meet Him!  Christ is on earth, be exalted.  Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Praise Him with joy all you people, for He has been glorified.

Ode 1 of Nativity Canon